The Western conference teams are ready and eager to get their hands on the Cup. Both semifinal matchups have concluded, one in four games, the other in five.
This Western finals series on the horizon is not going to disappoint. The LA Kings have come from the bottom as the eighth place playoff team, to beat the two top seeded teams in back to back series. After defeating the Presidents’ Trophy winning Vancouver Canucks in the first round, they just defeated the second place St. Louis Blues in a four game sweep. This is unfortunate for the Blues; they were on the forefront of the Western Conference for a good portion of the regular season. It was a nice change of scenery in the standings from years past, but the Kings came up strong and slashed the Blues’ dreams of a deep playoff run this season.
The Phoenix Coyotes have eliminated the Nashville Predators in five games. The Coyotes have advanced onto their first Western conference finals series in franchise history. Martin Hanzal, Coyotes center, led the series in goals with 2, and total points with 4. Mike Smith, Phoenix net minder stunned the Preds with a 1.73 goals against (GAA) and a .943 save percentage. Jonathan Quick, goaltender for the Kings, boasted very similar statistics with a .941 save percentage and a 1.50 GAA. The Blues had 17 power plays in this series. Did Quick let in a PP goal? Nope! It’s a battle of the men between the pipes: Smith versus Quick. Whichever team prevails in this series will see themselves playing for the coveted Lord Stanley’s Cup.
The battles of the East are not yet won. The NY Rangers have a 3‐2 series lead over the Washington Capitals, with overtime and blown calls by the officials to make this series a nail biter. The NJ Devils have a 3‐1 series lead over the Philadelphia Flyers, who tore apart the projected possible recipients of the Cup this season, the Pittsburgh Penguins, in the quarterfinals. Game 5 of NJ and Philly is tonight, and NJ can clinch a spot in the Eastern conference finals with a win tonight The NY Rangers can do the same, if they beat the Capitals tomorrow, in DC, with a sea of red as support for Ovi and the gang. If not, the two teams head back to NYC for a game 7.
Only time will tell.
It only gets better and better. Because, it’s the Cup.